Arkansas is edging closer to setting up its own sports betting industry. A new vote came on Thursday with lawmakers giving the go-ahead to a set of rules that would governor the industry in the state.
Arkansas Approves Sports Betting Measures – Few Steps Left
So, what exactly is the deal with sports betting in Arkansas?
Let’s start simple. Back in November, state voters decided to support sports betting state-wide. Then, the Arkansas Racing Commission had to put together a binding set of rules to be voted upon by lawmakers.
This happened in January and on Thursday, February 21 , The Arkansas Racing Commission finally managed to push the framework up for a vote. To clarify – the massive proposal is yet to be voted-upon.
What was agreed was for the 314-page draft to be reviewed by a specially-appointed Committee. This will happen at some point next week, with a 10-day grace period allowing for anyone who wishes to, to protest once a final decision has been reached.
Sports Betting in the Making
Arkansas won’t get sports betting right away, though. Even if the measures are approved, which is the most likely outcome, it might take the state at least a year to set things up. As per the referendum that took place, the state would need to begin accepting license applications in the summer.
Reviewing and singling out operators would then take some time, too, making it very unlikely or Arkansas to actually see its first sports betting facilities operational before 2019 is out. However, the financial windfall for the state is quite optimistic.
Arkansas expect to rake up around $36 million between 2020 and 2021 as a direct result from taxing revenue operators rake in. There’s also a dual-taxation system, which will apply two separate rates based on gross revenue.
Basically, any income up to $150 million will be charged with a mild 13% rate, but for anything above that amount, the rate will hit flat 20%. Conversely, the Arkansas Racing Commission will reveal information about the licensing fee, but permits wouldn’t cost more than $250,000 – a very accommodating rate.
The Collegiate Events Clause
Arkansas’ future sports betting industry will be all-encompassing. Bets would most likely be placed via the Internet and phone as much as in person, even more so, in fact. However, to protect the integrity of collegiate sports, it has been agreed that anyone who wishes to bet on such events would need to do so in person.
In an open letter signed by the athletics director of the Arkansas State University and the University of Arkansas System’s Fayetteville, Little Rock and Pine Bluff, the institutions openly asked for additional control over collegiate sports, pointing out both the good and the bad there:
No one can deny the tremendous financial and reputation harm that a sports betting scandal would cause to our state universities and student athletes, along with millions of fans, alumni and donors who support them.
Arkansas’ sports betting industry seems like a sealed deal and this is good news for all sports betting fans state-wide.